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Trans Mountain Expansion

The Trans Mountain Expansion project was approved by the Government of Canada on Tuesday, June 17. The decision comes almost 8 months after initial construction was met with a Federal injunction to halt progress. The initial delay cited a lack of indigenous consultation, and further research needed on the environmental impacts of oil tanker traffic.  In all, the approved expansion will see the development of approximately 980 km of new pipeline, 12 new pump stations, 19 new tanks, 3 new berths at Westridge Marine Terminal. Vessel traffic at the terminal is expected to increase by approximately 34 tankers per month.

The National Energy Board made recommendations to build “capacity and long-term relationships, marine safety, spill prevention, response capacity, cumulative effects, fish and fish habitat, and quieter vessels.” Among the measures, the Quiet Vessel Initiative aims at reducing “vessel noise in the Salish Sea in order to protect the marine environment and vulnerable marine mammals – including the SRKW.” Additionally, the following measurements have been recommended to further marine safety with the predicted increase of vessel traffic –

-Laden tanker tug escort to cover the route through the Strait of Georgia and between Race Rocks and the 12-nm marker

-Pilot disembarkation will be extended to take place near Race Rocks (pilots have been trained to disembark by helicopter)

-Enhanced Situational Awareness techniques will be applied that will require:

-Safety calls by pilots and masters of laden tankers

-Notices to industry issued by Pacific Pilotage Authority

-Tactical use of escort tug along shipping route

-Boating safety engagement and awareness program led by Pacific Pilotage Authority”

See here for further details on the Trans Mountain Expansion.